Remember two years ago? I bet you wish you couldn’t. 2013 was the year of many things, but somewhere in there it was the year of the embarrassing Jay-Z career decision to release an album called Magna Carta Holy Grail, when instead he could have enjoyed an eternity of diving into a pile of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck. Remember that record? Something something Basquiat Picasso something something Rothko Christie’s.

As part of this embarrassing display, Jay-Z roped in performance artist-cum-warrior-of-thirst Marina Abramović to aid him in the endeavor of promoting said album, a partnership that married the past-due genres of performance art and aging millionaire rap. Jay-Z rapped his blah blah art song for six hours at Pace Gallery, a nod to Abramović’s 2010 performance “The Artist Is Present.” As we put it at the time, “I Don’t Even Know, Man.”

Now, two years removed from this moment we wish we could forget, we’ve learned that a beef has been silently brewing. Abramović, in an interview with Spike Art Magazine, explains that she is “pissed” with Jay-Z for not holding up his end of the bargain:

“I am very pissed by this, since he adapted my work only under one condition: that he would help my institute. Which he didn’t.”


“The day before, he came to my office and I gave him an entire power point presentation [sic] and said: okay, you can help me, because I really need help to build this thing. Then he just completely used me. And that wasn’t fair. This is very different from Lady Gaga, for example, who has done great work for me. Just by having 45 million followers, she brought all these young kids into my public.

Uh oh. Just this week, Jay-Z collaborator dream hampton claimed the rapper had anonymously been posting tens of thousands of dollars in bail for Ferguson and Baltimore protestors. Either Hampton is exaggerating Jay’s charity, or Jay is choosy with his philanthropic projects.

As Spike puts it, “When you rubbed your forehead with Jay-Z’s, it seemed like an economical transaction: I grant you the right to use my piece, but in reverse you have to provide a space for my brand within your campaign.” Would she proverbially or literally “rub foreheads” with Jay-Z again? No:

And in the end it was only a one-way transaction. I will never do it again, that I can say. Never. I was really naive in this kind of world. It was really new to me, and I had no idea that this would happen. It’s so cruel, it’s incredible. I will stay away from it for sure.

Damn. Oh well.....

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